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Overdue books won’t see fines in Seneca County libraries

With the goal of increasing traffic, all five public libraries in Seneca County have agreed to waive fines for overdue books and other materials.

Libraries in Waterloo, Seneca Falls, Ovid, Interlaken and Lodi will no longer charge late fees for items that are considered late in being returned.

“The Finger Lakes Library System fully supports public libraries being fine free,” said the organization’s Executive Director Sarah Glogowski. “Seneca County is the first of our five-county service area, which also includes Cayuga, Cortland, Tioga and Tompkins counties, to be totally fine free and we applaud the five library boards, directors and staff for making this important change.”

Glogowski said the the library system has found that eliminating fines increases library circulation and usage, brings users back into libraries, and shows communities that their libraries are vital community centers that are “welcoming and helpful.”

The Elizabeth Garnsey Delavan Library in Lodi was the first in Seneca County — and one of the first in the five-county system — to adopt a fine-free policy in 2008. Former library director and current library board treasurer Mary Catherine French said the new policy was well-received, especially with busy parents with young children who need to balance work with childcare. French said the fine-free policy eliminated the stress of returning late items on time or having to pay a fine when finances were tight.

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